Monday, January 11, 2010

Over the Rainbow with Finn

Our grandchild, Finn, and his mother and father are such a warm, hopeful, happy part of our lives (mine—"Nonna" and my husband’s, "Juju"). It is an experience like most in life, a combination of emotions, memories, hopes, wishes, thoughts, intentions, and evolving relationship, but always felt as a blessing and with gratitude. There is what we, ourselves, bring to a situation and what is brought by others. We need only to hear, to listen, to reflect and to treasure what our lives bring to us, especially when a new being comes among us. We now are often living in between the memory of what it was like to be new parents and the new experience of what it is like to be grandparents.

Waiting for Finn to be born was like a long and beautiful dream of anticipation and hope—then, with an extra long labor--worry and concern for mother and child until we heard Finn was here and all was well. When we first saw him in the candle lit room in which he was born with the glow of new life and the sheltering arms of mother and father, it felt like entering a holy place, and, indeed it was: where a fragile, perfect, exquisite infant was welcomed with awe and love.

Finn is a little over two years old, and has been a constant source of joy and light in everyone’s lives. He is beautiful, healthy and bright. We have all noticed that he has very definite skills and abilities, both in his little body, his thinking, his activities, and in inner and outer gestures toward others. From the time he crawled, he seemed to notice the smallest things and was able to pick up a very tiniest pebble or crumb—and then would hold it out to someone, as if to say, "Look what I found." That capacity, along with curiousity and interest has developed into the ability to build things with legos, easily put puzzles together and to see and understand how things fit together--in matching colors and shapes and even in social situations.

Finn has an incredible memory and can articulate where and how something happened, accompanied with hand gestures and facial expressions, which, of course, are most charming and endearing to all. He is helpful, wants to and is able to participate in all daily activities, like making breakfast, sweeping the floor, washing the dishes and putting his toys back into their proper places. He loves books, pictures, songs, stories and verses. He is fortunate that his mother and his maternal grandmother (Mormor) can and sometimes do share these things with him in their native language of Norwegian.

He looks like his mother, whom everyone agrees is beautiful (inside and out), with his light hair, delicate build and blue, blue eyes which look out in a certain way, as if to say, “I know who I am, and/or “I know who you are.” Sometimes he will just look at a person with a very intense, thoughtful gaze (also like his Mama) and then maybe say a word or thought which reveals a kind of wisdom or insight most remarkable. He wants to do everything and can learn everything on a first try with a “Finn do it,” or “My to do it.” He can, and he does! He likes to watch videos (when permitted now and then--only ones his Mama and Papa have deemed acceptable, and sometimes necessary in a pinch): it is adorable to see him all comfy and settled on the bed, with his little snack tray, enthralled, as he lifts a little cracker to his mouth, with an amused smile at the adventures of his animated favorite friends, Kipper, Kaiyu or Hungry Pillar (caterpillar).

Finn has always loved and looks for the moon (moona) in the sky. This seems so connected to who he is (was or will be). I see this moon love/attraction as both what he loves and what he is: Everything that is rythmical, bright, predictable, mysterious, pure, changing, but, most of all, circling round the things he loves and attracting those around him into his brilliant sphere of beauty and light. Also, when he talks about the stars and angels, he becomes them, as we all look on with wonder.

The most wonderful thing about Finn is that he thrives on having lots of people around, and when the extended family sit around a table for a meal, or gather in a room, he seems most joyful and content, as we are, to be welcomed into and feel an important part of Finn’s world and his tender, open heart.

It seems as though he is like his parents in so many ways. Both his mother, Sanne (aka Mama/Mommy/Mama Mia) and father, Rob, (aka Papa/ Dad/Papa Pia) are creative, energetic, multi-talented, thoughtful, responsible and caring people who love and respect each other. So Finn gets to sew and bake with mother, play drums and wrestle with father. It is wonderful to see that Finn has such an easy relationship to and with both parents, and that they put him first, are patient, kind and playful with their son, include him in everything and are happy to have friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles around who also love Finn. Ultimately, though, what Finn is heir to is the example and experience of the good, the beautiful and the true.

We do not live so close to Rob, Sanne and Finn that we can see them everyday, but close enough that we can see each other over a weekend, preferably a long one, and certainly we get together for holidays and special occasions, which is the clear focus of our lives—looking forward to spending what becomes more and more “precious” time in the glow of our dear, growing family, of which Finn is the glowing center. Recalling something Finn did or said when he was at our house (which may have been ordinary, but seemed amazing because it was Finn and filled our hearts), or looking ahead to being with him at his house in upstate New York take up a portion of our conversation everyday--our lives the deeper and richer for it.

We always look forward to and enjoy seeing all of our family whenever we can, and we anticipate it beyond imagination. With Finn’s arrival, a special place was created within us that is all longing and kept like a small nest, tucked away among the quiet, fragrant pine boughs awaiting his arrival. Then, it is all shining and golden, all giving and loving, all receiving, and the “bowl is brimful.”

A Hundred Thousand Ways- Heart Pictures

Published in New View Magazine (January 2010 issue)

To reach someone through the heart is other than reaching them through words.
Besides words, allusions and arguments
The heart knows a hundred thousand ways to speak.

Joseph Campbell, in his comprehensive exploration of mythopoeia, observed that, for the ground of human existence, humanity has “chosen, not the facts in which the world abounds, but the myths of an immemorial imagination.” Indeed, the mythologies of the world, often thought to be divinely inspired, are many-layered, rich, symbolic road maps of and for humanity which speak in and to the heart.

The heart realm encompasses imagination--fertile ground for knowing and understanding, but in different ways at different times in humanity’s evolution. Two stories, one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament suggest a shift or transformation of human consciousness.

The Old Testament story of theTower of Babel tells of the descendents of Nimrod in the land of Shinar who sought to build a tower to reach the heavens. God, responds, “Now, nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” He confounds their common language into many languages, so they can no longer communicate to complete the tower, and they are to be scattered over the earth. In essence, they were planning a "raid" on the Holy, an invasion of heaven to display their power and to keep and expand their prominence and reputation. Their efforts were thwarted.

Their motivations were not out of humility, goodness, faith, spiritual practice or moral development—all thought of in most religious traditions as acceptable and necessary ways to approach, know and/or experience the divine.

A counter part to the Tower of Babel can be found in the New Testament—in which, perhaps the chosen people are now those whose hearts are open to “other than words.”

After Christ had risen, He appears to His gathered disciples, telling them to await their baptism, not from water, but from the Holy Spirit. From this “baptism,” they would apparently receive the understanding of and ability to carry His teachings over the whole earth. On Pentecost (meaning “fiftieth”, or approximately seven weeks after Harvest/Passover), the disciples are again gathered when the Holy Spirit descends, usually portrayed as a white dove hovering over the circle of disciples, and a small flame flickering over the head of each. They begin to speak in tongues as, again, the common language is confounded, but miraculously, they and others from other lands each hear the tongues (or understand) in their own language. Not only that, but, for the first time, those who had followed and loved Christ now also understood who He was and the significance of His teachings. In an instant, they were enlightened.

The disciples, with patience and devotion, had been unknowingly building an “inner tower” (or temple) to reach the heavens. Simple fisherman, lovingly motivated, they struggled to learn, to understand what Christ conveyed, not as the letter of the law, but its Spirit. In the end, they harvested the fruits of His parable teachings—seeds cast that had taken root in imagination and were felt in the heart. 

One could say that in freedom, they were blessed with understanding beyond words. They held themselves open to what Martin Buber describes as, "…the unconditional mystery which we encounter in every sphere of our life and which cannot be comprised in any formula.”